Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

What is Metro?

  1. #1


    Posts : 1,925
    Windows 8.1 Pro

    What is Metro?


    I have come to realize that most people don't really know what metro is.

    I think most people think it's just a "skin" or style for the apps that conform to the Windows 8 UI guidelines.

    It's not. Metro is actually an entirely different subsystem of Windows. A subsystem is like a "module" if you will, and it defines a set of API's (Application Programming Interfaces) that are used by programs to interact with the OS. These API's are the primary difference between say, Linux, Mac, Win32, etc...

    Because Metro is a totally different set of API's that are not compatible with legacy Win32 API's, that makes Metro, in effect, an entirely new OS. This new OS (called WinRT for Windows Runtime under the covers) means that Applications written for Metro will not work in legacy Win32 mode.

    So in reality, Windows 8 is two OS's. It's the classic Win32 and it's the new Metro. In reality, Metro is the dominant OS, but it has a compatibility mode to run Win32 Desktop apps in a sort of virtual environment.

    So to ask if you can "disable metro" is kind of pointless, as Metro *IS* the OS that Windows 8 runs. And all new development will be centered around Metro. Metro will not be going away.

    What you're doing when you ignore metro is running a Win32 compatibility mode inside Windows 8.

    For all intents and purposes, Windows 7 is the last Win32 version of Windows. Windows 8 and beyond will continue to run Win32 apps, but Metro is the primary OS. So if you don't like Metro, you should probably stay on Windows 7 for as long as you can.

    Why is Microsoft doing this? Because x86 is no longer the only answer. ARM and potentially other processors are taking over the low-end of the computing market. Microsoft needs an OS that works on multiple platforms, and they need applications that run on all of those platforms without change, or minimal change.

    In effect, Microsoft is modeling Metro after Android, which is a java-like virtual machine that runs apps that it compiles to native code.

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  2. #2


    Yes it adds a level of complication for users and programmers alike. Two OSes, two set of APIs. Brilliant! Maybe for W9, they could invent a third one, for fun?
    Quote Originally Posted by Mystere
    Why is Microsoft doing this? Because x86 is no longer the only answer. ARM and potentially other processors are taking over the low-end of the computing market.
    I don't beliee the new processor architecture excuse. Things are enough complex in metro and in W32 that any architecture supposed to support one of the two should support both. We are not in the 80's anymore.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mystere
    For all intents and purposes, Windows 7 is the last Win32 version of Windows. Windows 8 and beyond will continue to run Win32 apps, but Metro is the primary OS. So if you don't like Metro, you should probably stay on Windows 7 for as long as you can.
    That's what's frightening me. As I said in another thread already: within a few years unavoidable applications and perhaps hardware too will not be compatible anymore with non-Metro based OSes (W7 and below). XP and W7 may die just like W98 did: "Sorry this program expects a new version of Windows, installation cannot continue". And we will be forced to install and see everyday the ugly and useless Metro Start Screen, just like we had to suffer the "new" stupidities and bloats introduced in XP and Vista, just twice worse. :devil:
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  3. #3


    Posts : 1,320
    Server 2012 / 8.0


    Welcome !

    Click image for larger version
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  4. #4


    Posts : 17
    Win 7


    They really could use a new slogan
    "Metro - Making Windows into Window"

    Two operating systems in one would be fine, if you got to choose between them as has been hashed out time after time. Tablet operating system user interface is crap on a desktop just as a desktop interface on a tablet is more or less crap too. Nothing more I can really say that hasn't been said so... I'll just point to my new slogan for it as I still like it.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    United States
    Posts : 650
    Windows 8.1 Pro, iOS 7.1, Elementary OS


    Quote Originally Posted by Mystere View Post
    I have come to realize that most people don't really know what metro is.

    I think most people think it's just a "skin" or style for the apps that conform to the Windows 8 UI guidelines.

    It's not. Metro is actually an entirely different subsystem of Windows. A subsystem is like a "module" if you will, and it defines a set of API's (Application Programming Interfaces) that are used by programs to interact with the OS. These API's are the primary difference between say, Linux, Mac, Win32, etc...

    Because Metro is a totally different set of API's that are not compatible with legacy Win32 API's, that makes Metro, in effect, an entirely new OS. This new OS (called WinRT for Windows Runtime under the covers) means that Applications written for Metro will not work in legacy Win32 mode.

    So in reality, Windows 8 is two OS's. It's the classic Win32 and it's the new Metro. In reality, Metro is the dominant OS, but it has a compatibility mode to run Win32 Desktop apps in a sort of virtual environment.

    So to ask if you can "disable metro" is kind of pointless, as Metro *IS* the OS that Windows 8 runs. And all new development will be centered around Metro. Metro will not be going away.

    What you're doing when you ignore metro is running a Win32 compatibility mode inside Windows 8.

    For all intents and purposes, Windows 7 is the last Win32 version of Windows. Windows 8 and beyond will continue to run Win32 apps, but Metro is the primary OS. So if you don't like Metro, you should probably stay on Windows 7 for as long as you can.

    Why is Microsoft doing this? Because x86 is no longer the only answer. ARM and potentially other processors are taking over the low-end of the computing market. Microsoft needs an OS that works on multiple platforms, and they need applications that run on all of those platforms without change, or minimal change.

    In effect, Microsoft is modeling Metro after Android, which is a java-like virtual machine that runs apps that it compiles to native code.
    Someone else gets it. Finally. My good sir, you deserve a medal.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Posts : 21
    Windows 8 RTM


    Quote Originally Posted by Fredledingue View Post
    Yes it adds a level of complication for users and programmers alike. Two OSes, two set of APIs. Brilliant! Maybe for W9, they could invent a third one, for fun?
    Quote Originally Posted by Mystere
    Why is Microsoft doing this? Because x86 is no longer the only answer. ARM and potentially other processors are taking over the low-end of the computing market.
    I don't beliee the new processor architecture excuse. Things are enough complex in metro and in W32 that any architecture supposed to support one of the two should support both. We are not in the 80's anymore.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mystere
    For all intents and purposes, Windows 7 is the last Win32 version of Windows. Windows 8 and beyond will continue to run Win32 apps, but Metro is the primary OS. So if you don't like Metro, you should probably stay on Windows 7 for as long as you can.
    That's what's frightening me. As I said in another thread already: within a few years unavoidable applications and perhaps hardware too will not be compatible anymore with non-Metro based OSes (W7 and below). XP and W7 may die just like W98 did: "Sorry this program expects a new version of Windows, installation cannot continue". And we will be forced to install and see everyday the ugly and useless Metro Start Screen, just like we had to suffer the "new" stupidities and bloats introduced in XP and Vista, just twice worse. :devil:
    I noticed all you do is complain. Why don't you simply just wait until Windows 8 is released, wait a month, see how the public reacts to it, and then complain? Your complaining won't make Windows 8 change.

    Your voice is non-existant to over 600 million Windows 7 users alone.
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  7. #7


    Adelaide
    Posts : 1,338
    Windows 7 Ultimate SP1 (64 bit), Linux Mint 17.1 MATE (64 bit)


    Quote Originally Posted by Robert View Post
    Why don't you simply just wait until Windows 8 is released, wait a month, see how the public reacts to it, and then complain? Your complaining won't make Windows 8 change.
    Not complaining will?
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8


    Posts : 248
    Windows 8 RTM (Retinas taking damage...)


    Actually, metro is a crappy, bloated overlay. Windows is win32. Windows is having a windowed operating system. Windows is what windows was for decades. WinRT, on the other hand, "isn't windows anymore"
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  9. #9


    Posts : 1,925
    Windows 8.1 Pro


    Windows is whatever Microsoft says it is. Remember, the native OS of NT based windows is not Win32. As such, Win32 is just a bloated overlay.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10


    United States
    Posts : 650
    Windows 8.1 Pro, iOS 7.1, Elementary OS


    Quote Originally Posted by phailyoor View Post
    Actually, metro is a crappy, bloated overlay. Windows is win32. Windows is having a windowed operating system. Windows is what windows was for decades. WinRT, on the other hand, "isn't windows anymore"
    Win32 is doomed to its fate, even since the first version, microsoft has decided on this WinRT mode and will have to support Win32 for at least a good 10 years. DOS was going to "last forever" according to microsoft, that was only 30 years ago, Win32 is the same. Hardware needs to push there software
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